Hello! I have a cat that is 6yrs old...tiger. It seems like over night she just started hissing, clawing & up on her back legs at our dog. Cody-the dog, 2 yr old golden retriever is so gentle. He and Sadie (cat) are like best friends, sleep together, drink water together ect.. At night Cody sleeps with my 16yr old son with his bedroom door closed and Sadie sleeps next to me curled up in the blankets. I am home all day...so I know that nothing happened to her. She is a indoor cat only and has been around 2 other dogs that we have had in the past with no problems. (sadly both passed away-old 1 & 2 years ago) Sadie doesn't chase the dog. He passes by her and she doesn't attack him. It has been going on for 2 days now..the 1st day was horrible...she would hiss as he passed by. We kept them separated afraid that she would hurt the dog.. The 2nd day was better..he passes by her with no problem and she only hissed 3 times today. She would even go up to him & they would sniff noses. (like they always do) She eats, drinks & potty no differently. The only difference in her is the hissing, clawing/swatting, skittish with the dog and very clingy to me. Can you please help as to why is is acting this way. I want my Sadie Potatie back the way she was. I tried the water in the spray bottle everytime she would hiss...that seems to be working to stop her. Any ideas? Any questions please e-mail me.
I get this type of question often and it can be very distressing not only for the owners but also the animals involved. It is not an easy problem to solve or to explain as so many factors can be involved.
When this uncharacteristic behavior happens out of the blue is often associated with something that us humans are just not sensitive too but the cat is. Basically when a cat reacts this way it is a defensive action caused by fear. Something, even the tiniest thing has frightened your cat and she is associating the fear with the dog. It is called trauma aggression. the dog may not have even been involved, but it's as if the cat blames them. The trauma can be something small like, a loud noise, a different smell (another cat in the area maybe), or catching heir tail. All very small things but it has frightened the cat any way.
The solution I'm afraid is not a quick one, but it does sound as if you are doing the right thing by keeping them apart for a while. Basically you have to reintroduce the cat and dog to each other as if they had never met before (see my page below re introducing cats, same principal;e)
The whole idea to build the trust and confidence of the cat again, so that she learns that the dig is nothing to be afraid of. This can be a slow process it does very much depend on the animals involved. Can i just say that by spraying with water the cat will associate this nasty experience with the dog and this could serve to increase the problem. Keep the environment calm when the animals are together so that the cat only associates the dog with good things. You could offer both animals some treats when they are together.
I'm sure things will sort themselves out.